Objective: Quantitative 2-dimensional color Doppler tissue imaging is a new method to reveal impairment of left ventricular (LV) and right ventricular (RV) longitudinal function, which is a potential marker of early myocardial disease. The aim of this study was to obtain normal values for atrioventricular annular and regional myocardial velocities using this method.
Methods: A total of 123 healthy patients (age range: 22 to 89 years) underwent echocardiography including color Doppler tissue imaging using a scanner (Vivid 5, GE Vingmed, Horten, Norway) with postprocessing analysis (Echopac 6.3, GE Vingmed). Regional myocardial velocities were measured at 12 LV segments in 3 apical views and 2 segments of the free RV wall. Mitral annular velocities from 6 sites, and tricuspid annular velocities at its lateral site, were also assessed. At each site, systolic (S(m)), early diastolic (E(m)), and late diastolic (A(m)) velocities were measured, and the E(m)/A(m) ratio was calculated.
Results: Patients were classified into 4 groups aged 20 to 39, 40 to 59, 60 to 79, and >/=80 years. Mitral annular velocity and regional LV myocardial S(m) and E(m) progressively decreased with age. A(m), whereas low in the youngest age group, increased significantly in patients more than 40 years of age. The E(m)/A(m) ratio gradually declined with aging. There were no differences between age groups in S(m) measured at the tricuspid annulus and free RV wall, but the pattern of age-related changes of diastolic velocities and E(m)/A(m) ratio was the same as in the LV. Slight but significant sex-related differences were observed in middle-aged groups. The intraobserver and interobserver reproducibility was highest for atrioventricular annular velocities.
Conclusions: A progressive decrease in S(m) reveals a decline in longitudinal systolic LV function with age, whereas systolic RV function remains unaffected. Atrioventricular annular velocity and regional E(m) decrease with aging in both ventricles, suggesting a deterioration in the diastolic properties of the myocardium, whereas A(m) increases from middle age implying a compensatory augmentation of atrial function. The study results can be used as reference data for the quantitative assessment of longitudinal LV and RV function in patients with cardiac disease.